2. What do Grays Do?

So to figure out how all these grays work, I went to the stack of saved paintings by famous and some not so famous painters. There has always been one painting that, curiously, has always made me feel as though I was the person in the painting.

It is “Ladies in White Dresses” by Edward Henry Potthast, oil on panel 8 1/2″ × 11 1/2"


Potthast was very confident with his colors. It appears that he blocked out the principal masses and then painted into them. Notice the decisive brush work in the foreground. His subject is only suggested but that is not the purpose of this study. It is the whites and how he used them. She is clearly the subject of the painting. It is she who is principally listening or talking.

He has used the white to bring her closest to us. He has defined her with intense deep colors. There is no blending on the subject. It is simply colors mixed on the palette and then directly applied.

Journal Comments